May corn futures crept extremely close to the $4.00 level on Thursday after 4 good sessions of trading. Higher prices along with some good basis levels spurred farmer selling around the interior corn production areas.
The USDA is considering extending the sign up date for the Farm Bill programs. Any producer who does not elect to choose an ARC or PLC programs will automatically be signed up for PLC.
Wheat prices improved on Monday as the dollar continued to decrease from last week. Pictures of winterkill and concern over moisture levels in the plains also drove prices higher. The good news didn’t last long however as news of improved moisture in the western plains caused a sharp drop in prices on Thursday. Wheat purchasers are continuing to pass on U.S. wheat in favor of less expensive wheat from the E.U. and Black Sea regions.
Good south American production drove soybean prices down in the later portion of this week. Yields are excellent and result in record production that will more than offset losses from floods in some areas. Argentinian dock unions are threatening to strike over wage increases not being as good as they wanted. Brazilian harvest is in full swing but there is possibility of another truck strike this weekend if the government doesn’t meet their demands.
Packers have drastically slowed down chain speed in their slaughter plants hoping to reduce demand in order to combat the high cash prices they pay. Cash prices are still higher however. Historical price action would suggest that cattle prices trading higher into April before trending down into late summer. Estimates show beef production being below hog production which hasn’t happened since the 1950s.
The quarterly hogs and pigs report comes out today (Friday 27) at 2PM. This report will give us an indication of how quickly the hog herd is expanding. Estimates put hog numbers at those of 2 years ago plus 1-2%.